Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bike Love: What's Old is New

Why do new things please us, while old things seem so, you know, old? You get some new sneakers (or a new purse, or scarf, or ipod), and for a while, all you can do is catch glimpses of yourself in store windows and be like, "Damn, I look fly in these new kicks." But at some point, even if you keep them clean, the sneakers are just your regular sneakers, and you start thinking about the next new thing. It's the stuff that keeps our capitalist system going, and it's a crying shame. (I heard some guy on the radio the other day, a scientist, presumably, explaining this phenomenon in terms of neurons and stuff. It was complicated.)

One great way to get avoid this is to stop using something for a while, then go back to it. Today, I did that with my old friend, the Mercier Special Tour de France. Sure, loyal reader, you remember that old bike! Chillwill bequeathed it to be when he departed for warmer climes, and with some elbow grease and good old American ingenuity (and a hacksaw), I made it a wicked-awesome, three-speed coaster brake, do-anything bike. Well, it had been lying fallow for a while, partly because the trusty Xootr is so unrelentingly reliable (and foldy), and partly because I was having a little bit of seatpost slippage (so embarassing) and never got time to fix the problem. Then, like a gift from heaven, snows blanketed the region yesterday, shuttering everything and giving me some spare time to craft a shim (save your used hacksaw blades! They make great shims. Also, shivs.) and get the orange wonder back in fighting shape. And this morning, I joyfully took to the slushy roads on the finest mobile money can't buy. It's like having a brand new bike, and while I was riding it, I actually listened to my new ipod*.

Special Tour de France, detail

*Actually, just new to me. Thanks to magical craigslist, I traded an Xbox 360, which my stepfather-in-law gave me as a gift when he got some other system and which I never used, for a used ipod touch, which is really really cool.


Mark said...

Nice Cranks! I know what you mean. When ever my guardian dumpster angle drops off something I get all giddy just thinking of the endless possibilities to which I can turn that old beater into something rideable for me or my kids, or sell it to buy more parts to fix up more bikes. In fact, I just got another Peugeot UO-8. Looks worse than the last one but I might put a $100 into it and if I can sell it for $200 then I'd say that was a good move. If not, move the parts to the next project and this becomes art. In fact, I was thinking I might build a fence with bike frames.

chillwill said...

i miss that bike, but you have done me proud!(i hope that sounds really gay)

and by gay i mean happy.

and homosexual.